The charming and excitable Adam Shankman was sitting in on the So You Think You Can Dance panel with Mary and Nigel, joined by a 3,000-plus audience. A bigger theater means a bigger stage, which necessitates bigger performances -- but that wasn't always the case.
The theme of the night was violence -- most of the numbers had some kind of fight element. I guess the competition is getting to the choreographers as well. It started with Evan, Brandon, Jeanine and Kayla performing a cute routine about football players trying to woo two cheerleaders. It was a fun piece, but it didn't excite the crowd like some of the big show-stopping ensemble numbers of the past.
The first couple to dance together was Jeanine and Evan, with a violent piece about a man trying to hold onto his woman. It was full of hits, kicks and Evan leaping on her back, and it didn't work. They were swallowed up by the large stage, and the act had no oomph.
Next, Kayla and Brandon got to work on a Bob Fosse number from All That Jazz revamped by Tyce Diorio. Usually, I'm on board for Broadway bits, but this one felt off, too. The music was odd, and I just didn't see anything new or exciting here.
Then it was… oh you Nasty boy... as Evan and Brandon attempted to war with each other in a routine choreographed by Laurieann Gibson. Slightly more entertaining than the earlier numbers, Evan again fell short in the tough-guy department. I can't help but think that this number was designed with Ade and Brandon in mind. Poor Evan just couldn't get a break. Also, the boys were clad in jeans and leather jackets, and they simply melted into the flashy dark background behind the stage. Halfway through the night, and I'd yet to be wowed.
Kayla and Jeanine were up next, and I immediately thought about that mother and baby fox routine from a couple of years back... Lucky for the girls, this was pure Mia Michaels, with emotion and the literal tearing away of the layers. The dance was meant to portray their journey on the show, shedding their fears and inhibitions, crossing downstage like two horses in a race. It was pretty, but I'm not reaching for the phone.
And finally, we were treated to a light moment with a country-western jive to Travis Tritt's Trouble. Evan and Kayla executed some cool tricks as they bounced around the stage throwing flicks and kicks. About halfway through the routine, they looked like they'd lost steam, but you can't blame them. Actually, the judges blamed them -- or blamed Evan yet again for not coming up to par. The audience got ugly and began chanting Evan's name. Seriously, guys, we know he's a fabulous old-Hollywood-style dancer -- you don't have to keep using that as a bat to hit him over the head. He knows. We know. Now on to the last dance.
Jeanine and Brandon, my bottom two, came out dancing one of my least favorite dances -- the paso doble -- and somehow managed to make it the routine of the night. Dressed in leather and dancing to music from The Matrix, they performed a tight, dramatic paso that was worthy of being the big finish.
As much as I love Evan, I don't think he should win. I'd like to see Kayla take it; she's the most versatile dancer of the bunch. But on the strength of the last dance alone, Brandon or Jeanine will win this year's title.
Who do you think will win season five of So You Think You Can Dance? And who do you hope will win? Tune in tonight at 8:00 for a huge, two-hour season finale on Fox.
Photos: Fox Broadcasting Company
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